November 10, 2023
Veterans Day 2023
We owe our veterans more than words
By: Brian Almon
105 years ago today, the guns fell silent on the battlefields of the Great War. Ten million soldiers had lost their lives on both sides in a conflict where nobody really knew what they were fighting for. Was it for honor? For colonies? To punish Germany for its arrogance?
History podcaster Dan Carlin called the First World War a “meat grinder”. Industrialization had turned warfare into an assembly line process, creating carnage never before imagined in human history. The sacrifice and destruction was only made worse in hindsight as the hard won peace led directly to a Second World War even more bloody than the first.
After the Civil War, American veterans organizations in both the north and the south established memorial days to remember the fallen. World War I forced us to consider those that came back, shellshocked and alienated from their homes and families. This clip from the end Peter Jackson’s documentary They Shall Not Grow Old shows the uncertain future facing the veterans who had fought so long and so hard:
Ever since the shameful treatment of Vietnam War veterans, Americans — especially conservatives — have made a point of honoring military service. Today, with World War III on the horizon, we must confront exactly what we are asking of our military personnel.
We like to say they fought for our freedoms. Is that really true? Were our freedoms in danger in Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya? What were they fighting for? To stop communism, to overthrow tyrants, to make the world a safer place? Or to control oil fields, poppy fields, and maintain the post-WWII world order?
Supporting the troops means taking an honest look at how our leaders are choosing to use them. We must be able to separate support for the individual men and women who risk their lives from the choices that military and civilian leadership make.
After 9/11, President George W. Bush had a mandate to keep America safe by whatever means necessary. Rather than something sensible such as an immigration moratorium, Bush took us into two wars. Rather than toppling our enemies and returning home, our leaders chose to remain engaged in those wars in a futile attempt at nation building. With Afghanistan once again under the Taliban and Iraq now a puppet of Iran, those endeavors were clearly failures, but the military/industrial complex got what it wanted, and is hungry for more.
The conservative movement spent a tremendous amount of political capital on the War on Terror. We equated supporting the troops with supporting the wars, and so any criticism of those wars was denounced as unpatriotic or even treasonous. It took eight years of the Obama Administration expanding our foreign military adventures to make conservatives begin to question them, and then Donald Trump blew open the door for the right to oppose them outright in 2015.
In the meantime, the military has gone woke. Barack Obama did a remarkable job of replacing military leadership during his administration, installing affirmative action hires in places of influence and authority. Unfortunately, Trump did not stem that tide. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley lamented the “white rage” that led to January 6th while his successor has vowed to promote based on diversity rather than excellence.
A few years ago, an anonymous survey of Navy personnel ranging from seamen to admirals revealed that morale is dropping as the military spends more time on diversity training than preparing for war. Recruitment ads have promoted LGBTQ+ ideas rather than “outdated” concepts such as strength, honor, and loyalty. The Pentagon has devoted all its energy toward fighting Senator Tommy Tuberville over the issue of paying for service members to get abortions than anything else. And, of course, many great patriots were forced out of the military for refusing the experimental Covid-19 shot.
Military service was once an honorable profession that fathers wished for their sons. Before his presidency, Teddy Roosevelt formed a volunteer Army unit that achieved fame for taking San Juan Hill during the Spanish American War. His son Theodore Roosevelt Jr. rose to the rank of brigadier general and personally led his men onto the beach on D-Day, dying just weeks later. Both Roosevelts were eventually awarded the Medal of Honor.
Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler served in Vietnam before recording The Ballad of the Green Berets in 1965. At the end of the song, the narrator explains that a Green Beret has fallen in battle, yet his last request is for his wife to raise their son to follow in his footsteps.
Today, however, I hear more and more veterans urging their sons to avoid military service. Recruitment numbers are down, which is perhaps why the latest ads are once again targeting young white men rather than promoting diversity or LGBTQ+ issues. It should be obvious by now that our leaders see the military as cannon fodder for a globalist world order, and who wants to volunteer for that?
The idea that the troops would be protecting our freedoms in Syria, Ukraine, or Taiwan rings hollow when our own country is being destroyed from within. The southern border is wide open, flooding our nation with criminals, drugs, and foreign ideas about how to live.
American patriots are being persecuted by their own government. Pastors have been arrested for praying at pro-life demonstrations, a young man faces ten years in prison for making memes on Twitter, and anyone who even thought about attending the J6 protests is hunted down. Meanwhile crime is out of control and many areas of American cities have become no-go zones. The biggest enemies of the American Republic are not in Moscow, Beijing, or Gaza, but in Washington DC, New York City, and San Francisco.
Twitter poster DC Draino sums it up:
Today is the darkest Veterans Day in decades
Our country has never been closer to being taken over by Communists
We are on the verge of WW3
Middle class families can’t afford groceries, gas, or a house
And the greatest President in a generation has been indicted 4 times
Our elections are rigged, our speech is barely free, and our country has been invaded by 8+ million illegal aliens
The hardest part is talking to Veterans who realize they fought and sacrificed for a corrupt government that now openly targets them with a weaponized FBI and is hellbent on destroying America from within
For many veterans this is a gut punch. They courageously served our country only to see it fall apart. They fought totalitarianism in Europe, communism in the jungles of Indochina, and tyranny in the Middle East, only to see those things take root at home. I remember Priscilla Giddings explaining that she stood for office after being told she was fighting for freedom in Afghanistan only to find freedom being eroded in Idaho. I’m sure she was not alone.
My friend Dan McKnight served in the Army, Marines, and Idaho National Guard. Today he devotes his time and energy to convincing state legislatures that their national guard units are not pawns for Washington’s foreign wars. His Veterans Day message is worth hearing:
The second half of DC Draino’s tweet today explains what we owe those who have honorably served:
But I hope every Veteran realizes there are 74+ million Americans who refuse to accept these dystopian circumstances
They are standing at the breach, digging in their heels, and fighting back
We will not allow the sacrifices of our Veterans to have been made in vain
It is for our brave men and women in uniform that we fight to make this a country worthy of their sacrifice and selflessness
We fight to ensure their children will not have to fight and die in an overseas war that serves the interest of defense contractor shareholders instead of American national security interests
We fight to give future generations of Americans the same freedoms and opportunities passed to us
This battle will be brutal, long, and filled with setbacks, but we are in it and we will never back down
This Veterans Day may be unlike any other in our lifetimes, but victory is in sight
There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel that grows brighter by the day
And we will reach that light…for our Veterans
If you truly support those who have worn the uniform for our country, who have fought for the ideals for which she was founded, then you must dedicate yourself to restoring the ideals in which they believed. Let all of us, veterans and civilians alike, make this country once again worthy of those who serve.
Note: A descendant of American pioneers, Brian writes about the importance of culture and about current events in the context of history. His work can be found on Substack, here.